Lady Alyssa Porter is determined to look after her younger sister and to save enough to give her a London season after their cousin, who has inherited the family estate, leaves them destitute. These basics of the plot will sound familiar to readers of Regency-era books (though this book is set in 1835), yet Malvey’s book is anything but pedestrian. Lady Alyssa first becomes known to society as Madam Zora, the gypsy fortune-teller. It is in this guise that she meets Mr. Ian Fortune, a self-made man. Ian fears he may have put Madam Zora’s ability to support herself at risk and is determined to apologize. Add a domineering, interfering grandfather to the mix, and sparks fly.
Malvey’s characters came alive for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and unusual situations (such as the plague of frogs) the characters create or in which they find themselves.